The Texas Department of Public Safety is considering a policy change to the state’s limited medical-marijuana law that would raise the fees for dispensaries and growers from $6,000 to $1.3-million dollars.
At the end of 2015, the Public Safety Commission passed an initial set of rules, part of which set the rate that would be imposed on businesses wanting to become dispensaries and grow operations at $6,000. This month, the state agency proposed raising that fee to $1.3 million dollars.
The Marijuana Policy Project’s state Executive Director Heather Fazio says the fee increase makes it nearly impossible for businesses to operate and likely patients to access the low-THC cannabis oil that doesn’t result in a person getting high.
“They’ve amended some of the rules, which have been rather alarming for those who are both interested in accessing this medicine and for those who are interested in opening up a cannabis business to provide the medicine for these patients," Fazio says.
She says imposing those types of fees will likely raise the cost of the legal cannabis oil. Fazio and other marijuana advocates are also concerned with another DPS policy change concerning the state’s medical marijuana program. “Some of the other provisions requires self-incrimination with regards to where cannabis seeds are coming from," Fazio explains.
She says there isn’t anyone in the state who would have access to these specific types of low-THC marijuana plants without having to import them from outside the state and that is a federal crime. DPS officials say marijuana advocates and those wishing to start a marijuana business in Texas have until November 28th to comment on the new proposals before members of DPS’ Public Safety Commission vote on the amended changes. DPS officials say the agency set the proposed fee increase by reducing the number of allowable marijuana businesses from 12 to 3. The suggested rules also call for a DPS Trooper to be on the premises to provide security at all times. Under rules adopted by the legislature, the state agency has until the summer of 2017 to finalize these rules.